Above Photo: Marta Breijo / Flickr
The United Sates was downgraded from “full democracy” to “flawed democracy” in the 2016 Democracy Index, which cites declining trust in the government as the cause of its new rating.
The report is the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ninth annual Democracy Index, which looks at the state of governments across the world. In 2016, the number of “full democracies” dropped from 20 to 19.
The United States’ downgrade puts it at 21 in the international rankings, below Japan and tied with Italy.
President Trump, the report says, harnessed that low trust of the government to win the presidency. The report, however, doesn’t blame the new rating entirely on Trump, noting the downward trend in trust over the last several decades.
The U.S. has been “teetering on the brink of becoming a flawed democracy” for years, the report says. It cites the decline starting with the Vietnam War in the 1960s, the civil rights movement, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy and the Watergate scandal.
It allegedly continued to decline over the last several decades.
“By tapping a deep strain of political disaffection with the functioning of democracy, Mr Trump became a beneficiary of the low esteem in which U.S. voters hold their government, elected representatives and political parties, but he was not responsible for a problem that has had a long gestation,” the report reads.
In total, the Economist Intelligence Unit measured a decline in democracy in 72 countries and an increase in 38 countries last year.